© Abbie Goulet 2019

Seize the Data and I Agree

Roles: Project manager, writer (video), editor and animator

Summary: A multimedia project focusing on privacy in games for MediaSmarts (digital literacy company).

Tools Used: Adobe Illustrator, Final Cut Pro X, Adobe Premiere, Adobe After Effects, Canon 70D, shotgun microphone. Game was coded in Java.

Created by: Abbie Goulet (project manager and video editor), Anjelica Maglinao (game asset designer), Amina Musa (website and infographic designer), Austin Fisher (developer), Celine Xiao-lin Qiu (co-storyboard creator) and Ethan Pelletier (co-storyboard creator)

Note: Optimized for Safari and Chrome. Other browsers may have issues. Also playable on mobile (it's just pretty small!)

I Agree (above) is a video that teaches children how game companies collect information about them. It also gives parents and children tips on how to avoid giving out too much information.

The Process

Description: Seize the Data! is a game that was created for MediaSmarts to teach users about privacy concerns in games. Seize the Data! teaches children to be careful about the information they release to game companies and shows some of the consequences if too much information is released. In addition to the game, a video and website were created to further explain issues surrounding privacy in games. The video (above) gives an overview of how game companies collect information and provides tips on how to keep information safe.

The Beginning: When given the task of creating an educational game about privacy, we immediately thought of a game that involves collecting information. Our very first idea was to create a game that put the player in charge of gathering information about other users. After brainstorming more, however, we all agreed that we enjoyed games like Candy Crush because of they have familiar game mechanics and quickly become addictive to play. From this idea we though, why not make a game that incorporates familiar and fun game mechanics, but add the twist of collecting information?

The Idea (and our paper prototypes): From there we created paper prototypes of various ideas we had, including a character called "Business Boy" and a cookie bonus. Our paper prototypes (above) were then tested by users and our professor. Our first layout (left) included a chatroom and a large cookie that would fill up as the user made more matches. After user feedback, however, we simplified the design (right photo), taking out the cookie and incorporating it as an item instead. We tested again. This layout was well received and we were excited about the idea, so we began developing the digital prototype.

This was my first experience paper prototyping and I found that the insight we got from these simple tests was invaluable. I discovered that paper prototyping allows creators to get immediate feedback after brainstorming, and the users that test these prototypes are more likely to give us honest feedback because the prototypes didn't take us very long to make it.

My role as project manager during this phase was to keep the team on task and help with layout design.

Above: User-testing summary video.

The User Test: Two weeks later we had a working prototype with a few main functions: An instructions screen, the match-3 gameplay, one prompt for information ("Give us your name for 2 extra moves!") and the final results screen. The gameplay was simple - match the different icons (e.g. a credit card) to collect more information. Many of our users were able to play the game without reading the instructions and understood the basic educational message. Some improvements that were suggested by our users included adding more prompts throughout the game, making the mini-progress bars functional, taking away the sparkles around icons and more. Overall, we were really happy with this user test. 

Storyboarding: In addition to creating the game, we also created a video that taught viewers about concerns surrounding privacy in games and tips to avoid having private information released. From the beginning, we wanted to create a video that was simple and easy to follow. We also wanted a video that both parents and children could enjoy. After some research, we were inspired to create a video similar to an Extra Credits (YouTube channel) video, with fast moving images and a main narrator. I took the lead in creating the storyboard and was later the video editor and animator. Click the photo above to view our storyboard (script is located in slide notes).

The Final Product: The final product was well recieved by our professor and client. We recieved very little negative feedback and the client saw potential in using our content for future educational intiatives. I am proud of this project because I was able to lead my team effectively and create a video that the client enjoyed. One my goals for this project was to create resources that both parents and kids could enjoy, and the client commented almost immediately that he could see both parents and children enjoying the video and game. In addition to creating this project, we also created a list of improvements we would make if we were to fully develop the game. Click the photo above to see this list.